Hello Chestermere! As we head into the summer months, I would like to take the opportunity to say what a privilege it has been for myself and my staff to serve you this year. Peter, Nicole and I are extremely humbled and grateful to work in and for such a wonderful city, in the best province in Canada. We look forward to being part of the change that brings us back to our once proud Alberta Advantage, and based on the passionate discussions we have had with you at the grocery store, in the local pub, on the street, during Chestermere’s many events, or in the office, we know how amazing and resilient you as a community are. Our summer hours are a little different due to the amount of outreach we do over the summer months, so please feel free to contact us and set up an appointment, or come in and see our beautiful art wall. It is really worth a visit. Remember Peter and Nicole are commissioners of oaths, so please take advantage of this free service.
As you know, the energy sector has taken a beating this year with lower oil prices made worse by bad provincial policy and extra taxes. A court has now ruled that federal bankruptcy law takes precedence over the energy and regulatory process of a province with the ‘Redwater’ decision. It basically boils down to this. Redwater’s trustees in bankruptcy are not responsible to reclaim the wells they produced out of as the creditors have first claim on any money that is raised. This means that the very strained orphan well fund, which is completely funded by industry, is now also responsible to clean up this mess as well. To add insult to injury, in an attempt to prevent this from happening again, the Alberta Energy Regulator (“AER”) has reacted by raising the regulatory threshold and red tape around selling an asset to such an extent that it will be difficult if not impossible to do so. This makes the value of those assets less by reducing the demand which adds to the difficulties faced by many small and medium sized oil companies. I know this is confusing. In a nutshell, energy resources are owned by the people of Alberta and Alberta regulations should determine how situations like this are handled. We haven’t noticed the Federal government offering to help reclaim these wells. Our Premier should be defending Albertans rights and our ownership of our resources. We are disappointed but not surprised that our Premier chooses not to do so. The AER has stated they would appeal the Redwater decision. We will keep a close eye on this and keep you updated.
The government has released their 2015-16 annual report and it makes for grim reading if you care about your children’s future. The deficit comes in at $6.4 billion, $350 million higher than their last “prediction” (guess). They have no plan for fiscal restraint, and have stated that they are proud of their budget which will add a further $10 billion plus deficit this year. We ended the fiscal year with $19.5 billion in debt, set to hit $30 billion by the end of the next year. Interest payments in the fiscal year totaled $776 million dollars in the past year. That’s a lot of schools, hospitals, and care facilities for our seniors. Interest payments will be much higher this year. They have rejected every common sense proposal by the Wildrose to get their spending under control and plan to continue with their destructive economic policies. You cannot tax and borrow your way to prosperity.
I would like to close by extending my sincere best wishes to Brian Utley who is retiring from Chestermere High School after a distinguished career. As one of his past students I speak from experience when I say he was a tough taskmaster with a heart of gold. He demanded the best from you, and in return offered unstinting support, encouragement, and advice. His 37 years at the same school, the successful teams he coached, Utley Field, his place in the Chestermere High School Hall Of Fame (another one of his initiatives) and especially the admiration and respect of his students and his peers tell the story of a man whose achievements may never be repeated. I am told he will still be doing some coaching and if so another few students will get to know a truly wonderful man. He will be missed.
As always, we love to hear from you.